The Guardian Profiles Ray Anderson

When Alex asked readers to name "...some big companies that truly deserve the 'green' title," Interface was first on the list. For regular readers of Treehugger, that should come as no surprise: founder Ray Anderson's green epiphany late in his career has become a legend in sustainability circles. If you're not familiar with Anderson, his book Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise is a must-read; if you'd like something a bit more quick and dirty, though, the UK's Guardian profiled this green giant of industry last Thursday as he was in the UK to speak at Oxford University's Oriel College. At age 72, Anderson is still making the rounds, telling his story, and showing others in the corporate world that green business is good business:

As he noted right from the start: "I was as competitive and profit-minded as anyone else. I was the head of the largest producer of industrial carpets."

Mr Anderson's moment of epiphany came 10 years ago when he read Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce, described by one reviewer as a cultural and economic masterpiece. It was pure serendipity, as customers had begun asking awkward questions about what he was doing for the environment.

"It was an epiphanic spear in my heart, a life-changing moment; a new definition of success flooded my mind. I realised I was a plunderer and it was not a legacy I wanted to leave behind. I wept," he said.

In concluding his article, writer Mark Tran leaves readers with a vivid impression of why Anderson is still such an inspirational figure: when asked about Interface getting lost in the shuffle when so many corporations are adopting sustainable policies and practices, he responded: "I see no other long term choice for industry to survive... Each of us has a role in this transformation. We must all learn to make peace with the earth, not to make war on it, or we will lose." We've got a feeling Interface and Ray Anderson will continue to stand out... ::Guardian Unlimited

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